Feb 03 2012

Komen caves

“We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives.” — Komen press release

Crap, now they’ll be forgiven and everyone will go back to pinkness and plucky survivorship and mistaking shopping for philanthropy and looking the other way on the whole carcinogenic corporate partners thing.

UPDATE: Komen has in fact used the old Fake Cave Gambit, which I would have realized if I’d spent two more minutes thinking about that press release. Check this out.

Thanks @janeenlee.


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  1. josquin

    Oh crap. I read the “breaking news”, came over here, and of course you called it for exactly what it is. Tactical PR to keep people from getting a good hard look the misogynist stain that blights The Pink.
    Komen’s corporate pharmaceutical bed-fellows GET RICH from breast cancer. Now why on earth would they want it eradicated?

  2. speedbudget

    “We want to apologize for recent decisions that highlighted and made obvious our lack of commitment to our mission of saving women’s lives, and thus cut into our corporate bottom line.”

    There. Fixed that for you.

  3. Pinko Punko



  4. Ginjoint

    “Plucky survivorship.” Heh.I like that.

    I’m still glad this happened (the reversal, I mean). Women got pissed and refused to be shamed or shunted off by the powers that be. I also witnessed a lot of information sharing, with regard to Nancy Brinker’s Republicanism and Karen Handel’s position of power within SGK. That was nice.

  5. Phledge

    I suppose it’s foolish to hope that at least a portion of the people who were outraged over this decision will have been indelibly scarred with all of the negative Pink information that has been highlighted for the past couple of days? Is it silly of me to think that more people will cast a jaundiced eye at the Komen peeps now that they’ve learned what “pinkwashing” means?

    Yeah, sorry about my delusional state. IBTP.

  6. janicen

    But the decision to withdraw funding was not, not, not political. They had no choice but to follow their strict policy. Until it started costing them money and revealing the true nature of the organization.

  7. Laurie

    Phledge, Hope you’re not delusional. I suspect that the people who cared enough to get pissed off about this are not fooled by this insulting non-apology.

  8. Lisa

    Komen didn’t reverse their decision at all. They say that they’ll continue funding the current grants, which was never an issue in the first place; then they say that PP can apply for future grants. Well, PP applied already and were denied, which is what started the shitstorm. If Komen really reversed their position, they would grant the funding application Planned Parenthood already filed. But they didn’t.

  9. Twisty

    “Komen didn’t reverse their decision at all.”

    Alas, you are correct-o. Proving the spinster’s maxim once again: there’s always time for just a little more analysis before hitting the blame button.

  10. Lovepug

    I’m going to hold out hope that Pandora’s box was opened just enough to let out enough Furies such that Komen won’t be able to recover from this. I’m sure before this kerfuffle, a lot of folks had no idea about the organizations shortcomings and flaws. Much has been revealed.

    One thing for sure is that motivated a lot of excellent blaming right here. And before I stopped reading comments elsewhere, my sense was that those in support of Komen were trotting out the same old pro-life chestnuts whereas those calling out Komen were citing some pretty specific examples and bringing up a variety of issues.

    Kind of like breaking open an abscess.

  11. Carpenter

    Just read this rundown

    “In the apology Komen says that they’ll continue Planned Parenthood’s current funding, and they’re changing their “no investigations” rule to say that it must be a criminal investigation, and conclusive. Okay, but the current funding wasn’t at issue. Komen had always said they’d continue the current funding, so that’s a red herring. The issue is next year’s funding, which Komen just turned down”

  12. Carpenter

    BTW, did anyone read about Komen and its pink handguns and shotgun shells?
    “Discount Gun Sales is proud to team up with the Susan B. Koman Foundation to offer the Walther P-22 Hope Edition in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. ”

    Save someone’s chest by shooting some else’s.

  13. Phledge

    Also from the Flights of Radfem Fancy Files, maybe the politicians who think nobody gives a fuck about women’s health will reconsider that stance. Although by the number of people who are defending Planned Parenthood by saying, “But they don’t use Komen money OR federal funds for abortion!” I’m thinking it’s just saving the ta-tas that’s got everyone’s g-strings in a twist. Quelle surprise!

  14. Twisty

    Well, as I read somewhere on the Internet today, the ta-tas are innocent, but the vadge is guilty. Meaning women’s health is all well and good as long as you’re talking about boobies, but Down There is a political minefield. Did anyone else see that? Where was it?

  15. Kea

    I think the New Yorker?

  16. Twisty

    The New Yorker, yes! Thanks. Here’s the article.

  17. Pinko Punko

    I think this would be appreciated (first person pro cannot be stopped on this occasion, perhaps contained?): I do not want to be looksist, but the first time I saw a picture of Brinker, I was reminded of the Mary Kay Commandos from Bloom County and considering the pinkshirt tactics of Komen, this might actually be their version of the ideal. Anyhow, a quote from Brinker said something approximating that she can’t be distracted by this stuff because she works 20 hours a day on the Komen mission. 20 hours a day?. I would love a breakdown of those hours. 10 hours: radiating pink vibes in hypobaric chamber and meetings with beauty-industrial complex star chamber. 7 hours: lunches, networking, spa, networking. 15 minutes: lying on YouTube for ill-conceived press-release 3 hours: contemplation of mission in room full of mirrors. Non-mission 4 hours: pooping and sleeping?

  18. Jezebella

    Oh, bullshit, Komen. OF COURSE it was politically motivated and OF COURSE it was intended as an attack on Planned Parenthood. If they really want to reverse their position, they need to fire that pro-forced-birth VP that put them in it. Non-apology, indeed.

  19. Ginjoint

    I can’t keep up anymore; I’m wrung out; I need to STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.

  20. Greywolf

    Thanks for keeping us updated. Sadly, I must admit to being woefully uninformed about the nasty side of Komen, although things like those pink guns always felt creepy. I’ve learned so much through places like this and the links provided.

    Gotta agree with the sentiment: that was one of the worst non-apology apologies I’ve ever seen.

  21. olympia

    Lovepug- Heh, I initially read your line as “release such furries”- brings an extremely amusing image to mind.

    And yeah, I’m not buying this so-called turnaround for a second. I’ve never been a fan of the pink onslaught, but the Komen’s latest shenanigans made me realize just how soulless an operation they are. I’m hoping this woke a lot of folks up.

  22. Twisty

    I can’t keep up anymore; I’m wrung out; I need to STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.

    No shit. I believe the prescription for Komen-fatigue is a couple of margs and some chips & sauce. Peace out.

  23. ew_nc

    This is probably against a few commenting rules, but I wanted to share this (perhaps unintentional) blamer’s wise words on the subjects of the last coupla posts. I hope I’m this awesome when I’m 80-something.


  24. veganrampage

    The 30,000 petitions I signed have all robo-contacted screaming victory over Komen. Thanks for clearing this up. All these so called progressive orgs are so surface-y and can’t see nuance. Some victory.

    Next year when PP funding matters come up, Komen will think twice about damaging their brand, no? Hopefully that Canadian doc “Pink Ribbons Inc.” will have circulated in the US by then and the whole K mess will go down in flames.

    Why you should hate Komen even more:
    Estee Lauder stole that ribbon from a breast cancer survivor, changed the color from salmon to bright pink so they wouldn’t get sued. Komen appropriates ribbon. A corporate logo is born.

  25. quixote

    (Testing my broken comments. Please ignore.)

  26. quixote

    (More testing. Ignore some more. Feel free to delete, Twisty, if this also makes it through.)

  27. Comrade PhysioProf

    Some fucken goddebagge despicable piece of shitte is already screeching on the teevee thatte it is “very disappointing” that Komen has “caved in to pressure from pro-abortion extremists”.

  28. Sierra Nevada

    I don’t give a shit what Komen or the godbags say right now. They got beat on this one, and that is a rare thing. This was a win, and there is a moment of opportunity at hand while the pink rictus-grin-happyface-mask is torn.

    At this moment high ups in general mills (yoplait) are actually tuned in to the correspondence stream coming their way about Komen. That window of opportunity is short. Write to them. Let them know that their Yoplait brand is safe for the moment, but that the pink ribbon is on probation right now and they might want to use their devine influence to get a management change in place at Komen to women who have different priorities.

    It aint the revolution, I know, but a win is a win, no matter how small.

  29. ElizaN

    Apologies for the personal nature of this post, but I don’t know where else to turn. I had a doctor’s appointment today because one of my breasts seemed to be acting a little oddly, and left with a prescription for a mammogram of highest urgence. My doctor was great in explaining all the possible things it could be besides cancer, but the ‘urgent mammogram’ still has me freaked out. I tried looking for breast cancer support online, but everything I could come up with was right out of Ehrenreich’s Welcome to Cancerland.
    Is there a support resource for people who are pissed and frightened rather than empowered and so glad that “cancer made me a better person”? I guess I just feel like I need someone to hold my hand who isn’t going to make me want to deck them through the computer. Thanks.

  30. CSue

    I’m still waiting for somebody to explain to me how all these televised rah-rah 3-day marches are going to PREVENT a SINGLE case of cancer. Feh.

  31. rootlesscosmo

    @ElizaN: yup, waiting for test results is definitely enraging and frightening. Nobody seems to grasp that you want the results NOW so you can either relax or switch from the terror of ignorance to just, you know, terror. Can you ask your doc–who sounds reasonably humane–about resources? Meanwhile, good luck.

  32. quixote

    ElizaN, I was really struck by Barbara Ehrenreich’s reaction to her own diagnosis. She recommends Breast Cancer Action as an organization. Mayoclinic.com is a fairly good source of just plain vanilla mainstream medical info.

  33. quixote

    (Oops, sorry, you already have BE’s link.)

  34. Phledge

    ElizaN, best wishes for good news in the mammo department. The wait is terrifying but it sounds like your physician is taking these changes very seriously; that’s the first best step. I’m sure I speak for the Blametariat when I say we’ll be rooting for you no matter what the results.

  35. damequixote

    @ElizaN A while back I had to have a biopsy and everyone had me freaked out as well. And for good reason of course. It’s serious. But I found out later that the number one malpractice in the US is undetected/missed breast cancer so now the “posture” is much more “it could be something” than “it’s probably nothing”. What helped me during the waiting was to hit big chores (like cleaning out the basement). It took my mind off of it and gave me a sense of control. Best wishes for a positive outcome from me, too.

  36. Twisty

    One thing I learned after 5 1/2 years in Cancerland: never get a test on a Friday. They’ll make you wait all weekend for the results, and come Monday you’ll be worn to a nub. Fucking fucks.

    Odds are you don’t have breast cancer, but if you do, odds are it won’t kill you. The most helpful thing any Internet person ever told me was “it will end.” And she was right. The waiting will end, and you’ll know, and then you’ll deal, whatever the outcome. You think you can’t deal, but you really can, and you will.

  37. stacey

    Good luck, ElizaN. I’d happily be your hand-holding buddy. Let’s go thrift-store shopping, then get some take-out and watch bad action movies. Then damequixote can come over and we’ll re-organize your entire kitchen.

  38. stacey

    Actually, I meant to say, yes, waiting is shitty. I had to wait for about two weeks last fall for results from a cervical biopsy. Totally nerve-wracking. So I hear you, sister. (Results negative, and luckily my kid was being an unmanageable asshole at the time, so it kept me distracted.)

  39. speedbudget

    ElizaN, I’ve had the “urgent mammogram” missive in my hand a couple of times now. It sucks. It really, really does. I found that the ladies at the mammogram/ultrasound center are very, very supportive, and they are very understanding of your total shit-freak-out. I was upgraded from mammogram to ultrasound because of my “dense” breasts, and let me tell you, that was not fun. You think you’re being upgraded cause they found something. You’re not. It’s just cause they can’t see through all the fibers in your breast. Also turns out I was given the urgent mammogram due to a lump in my breast that is just a lump of fibrous tissue which is completely normal for us ladies with dense breasts.

    Think of us here on Savage Death Island as your hand-holders and supporters. Feel free to come here and vent at us. Lots of us have been there, and if we haven’t, we can still certainly commiserate.

  40. BestOfFair

    ElizaN – Good luck to you. And everyone else – thanks for the resources. I need them too, because my doctor found a Mysterious Mass in my lower abdomen and is freaking out, which freaks me out. I am trying to maintain a zenlike calm but am also pissed and scared. It’s hard to know where to turn for information because I know, as DameQuixote said, a lot of medical treatment and advice is colored by a physician’s justifiable wish to not be sued, and I don’t want to say anything to my friends and family, even those who are doctors because – because. So I bite my nails in private and snuggle the dogs extra.

    Anyway, Twisty, thanks for the advice about no tests on Fridays. And thanks also for the reminder that it will end. It will end.

  41. damequixote


    If there is salsa in that kitchen, I am there.

  42. minervaK

    Sorry, but nothing the Komen foundation does from now on can be trusted. What this whole thing brought out into the open is that they are run by some right-wing godbagess (read: misogynist) who doesn’t give a flying frigate about breast cancer. Their only real concern, like so may other “foundations,” is IMAGE, and that has gone down the toilet, permanently.

  43. ElizaN

    Thanks so much for the replies, I really do feel a bit less like throwing up now. I’m printing them out to re-read as I wait for the tests.

  44. missyfus

    I’ve NEVER submitted to the Pink Gestapo, and I NEVER will. Yes, I’m related to women who have fought and won the battle against breast cancer. I’m also a teacher and I’m worn thin by my 12-year-old students who find it hilarious to wear the pink wristband rubbers, belts, etc. saying “I <3 Boobies." Do you know my students actually think the breast cancer is pink? As in, when the doctor removes the cancer, it is actually colored pink?? I blame the Pink Gestapo. I blame them for the pink handguns mentioned above. I blame them for the idiocy of their perpetuation that pink is the color of women. I hate the Komen organization and I have for a long time, and it's about time they get theirs and everyone else realizes what/who they actually are. blame blame blame, harrumph.

  45. ruby

    From press release:

    “It is our hope and we believe it is time for everyone involved to pause(stop twittering already), slow down(and blogging) and reflect on how grants can most effectively and directly be administered without controversies(that we started) that hurt the cause of (some, but not the very poor, young, uninsured…) women. We urge everyone who has participated in this conversation(begrimed our squeaky pink name) across the country over the last few days to help us move past(forget already) this issue. We do not want our mission(bottom line) marred or affected by(liberal feminist abortion lovers) politics – anyone’s(unless it’s our godbag) politics.

  46. minervaK

    Here: http://jezebel.com/disgrace-for-the-cure

    When fucking Jezebel (aka FunFeminist Central), says out loud that Komen is fucked, you gotta believe that they well and truly are.

  47. Lovepug

    Love this quote from the Margaret and Helen blog:

    “Am I the only one to notice the hypocrisy of the Republican party? They want smaller government all right… just small enough to crawl up my vagina!”

  48. tinfoil hattie

    ElizaN, please do keep us up to date. I’m thinking about you & hoping everything goes well.

  49. IBlameRonPaul

    The Cheerful Cancer Committee boils my blood. Digestive system cancers run in my family. They are not cheerful. They are liver metastasis, systemic failure, and death. While there’s not yet been a campaign to anthropomorphize the colon or stomach and make those cancers cute and fashionable, in due time, I’m sure there will be. My family has genetic tendencies toward these cancers, but they’re becoming more widespread in general because of changes to our food and environment.

    When the last of my family died of these cancers in the late 90s, we were all reminded to put on a brave face and be thankful for our blessings. I actually never got to grieve. My dad still never has. He’s been on SSRIs for over a decade to numb him out. I’m sick of cancer as a blessing, gift from Jeebus, and fashion statement. I’ve taken to not telling people my family history or experiences with the disease, because inevitably, I get crude and unhelpful comments like “It was all part of God’s plan.” If God exists, why kill decent people and allow cruel dictators and tyrannical CEOs to live to old age?

    It makes me so angry.

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